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Champions, The #12: Review

Mar 1977
Bill Mantlo, John Byrne

Story Name:

Did Someone Say…the Stranger?

Review & Comments

4 stars

Champions, The #12 Review by (May 3, 2023)

Review: An impressive issue centering on two thrilling battles which are cool despite the questionable matchups. Stilt-Man can actually hold off the six Champions plus Black Goliath? Really? And why does he look much larger and more solid than he ever did when facing Daredevil? The second battle is even more exciting, the Champions versus the Stranger. But this one has the opposite problem: the Stranger can’t defeat the Champions? A cosmic dude who could whup the Silver Surfer? A guy who should be able to blink and freeze most mortals (and demigods) in time? He’s gotta be pulling a lot of punches. Anyway, the Mantlo/Byrne team hits its stride and this comic becomes a delight. Too bad its days are numbered.

Comments: Part two of three parts. Stilt-Man, longtime foe of Daredevil, was introduced in DD #8 and previously fought Black Goliath in BLACK GOLIATH #4. The Stranger brought the Null-Life Bomb to Earth in SILVER SURFER #5; his appearance here follows from MARVEL TEAM-UP #55 wherein he returned to Earth, sensing Bomb’s rearming. Kamo-Tharn was introduced in THOR #235; this is his second appearance. The letters page includes one by future comics superstar Kurt Busiek.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Champions, The #12 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

The Champions (Hercules, Black Widow, Iceman, Angel, Ghost Rider) and Darkstar return to Los Angles via sky-car to find Black Goliath battling Stilt-Man atop their skyscraper headquarters. The Champs join in the fight and the villain holds them off until Ghost Rider melts the street beneath him with Hellfire. Stilt-Man simply detaches the lowest parts of his hydraulic legs and walks off at a pace too quick for them to follow but Black G pursues him anyway. The team head up to their offices where they meet Reggie Clayborne, the target of Stilt-Man’s attack. She is carrying a box her boyfriend Jerry stole from Stark International to sell for drug money; he vanished and when the box began to glow, she came to the Champions for help. The cosmic being called the Stranger enters through the wall, claiming the box is the Null-Life Bomb he created, and he wants it back lest it destroy the solar system. Reaching for it terrifies Reggie so Darkstar goes to her aid by blasting the Stranger with Darkforce—and he strikes back. This leads all the heroes to take on the Stranger while the television shows a battle downtown between Black Goliath and Stilt-Man. As the Champs fight the Stranger, the device inside the box begins to grow, soon absorbing Reggie. Angered, the Stranger reveals that he brought the Bomb to destroy Earth but the Silver Surfer persuaded him not to and the bomb was disarmed; aware that the bomb had recently been reactivated, he sought to retrieve it before it began to expand through the universe and when it had engulfed the solar system it would contract, destroying everything—but the Champions have delayed him and now the bomb is expanding. The Stranger is engulfed but before he vanishes inside it, he sends the Champions to find the one device that can stop the Null-Life Bomb…

…and the Champions find themselves in the realm of the blind immortal Kamo-Tharn; KT recognizes Hercules’ voice and orders his ape creatures to attack….

John Byrne
Bob Layton
Don Warfield
Dave Cockrum (Cover Penciler)
Dave Cockrum (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Annette Kawecki.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Warren Worthington III)
Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider

(Johnny Blaze)

Plus: Black Goliath (Bill Foster), Champions, Kamo-Tharnn, Stilt-Man.

> Champions, The: Book info and issue index

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